The Negros-based Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation, Inc. (AIDFI) has been selected as one of the 10 finalists for London’s Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy.
BY KARL G. OMBION
Vol. VII, No. 16 May 27-June 2, 2007
BACOLOD CITY – The body that gives the world’s leading green energy prize, the Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy, has selected 10 renewable energy pioneers from across the globe to enter the final stage of the competition which takes place in London in June.
The Negros-based Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation, Inc. (AIDFI) has been selected as one of the 10 finalists for developing and installing specially designed ram pumps in 68 hillside villages in the Philippines.
AIDFI’s ram pumps, capable of pumping water up to heights of 200 meters, are bringing clean water to over 15,000 people who previously had to undertake often difficult and dangerous journeys just to get clean water. They now have ample water supply, around 200 to 1,000 liters a day for each household. The water is used for washing, sanitation and irrigating crops.
By developing a new and improved ram pump design and involving communities in installation and maintenance, AIDFI has avoided the pitfalls that other ram pump projects encountered which made them ultimately unsustainable. With the support of the community, AIDFI pumps can last at least 20 years.
The success of AIDFI’s scheme has also changed the mindset of local people who now see renewable energy as the best option for them. There is a huge need for this type of technology in areas where there is no immediate access to clean running water.
Auke Idzenga, a Dutch engineer who has lived among farm workers in Negros since the 1980s and one of the prime movers of AIDFI, expressed his elation over the award. “It is an honor to be counted in this prestigious institution, but we owe this success to the poor farmers and dedicated AIDFI staff who served as the core force that put their sweat and blood to this endeavor.”
Idzenga also said that the award gives them more inspiration to go on with their work and advocacy of appropriate and renewal technologies especially in situations where the plunder of natural resources seem to be irreversible.
AIDFI will compete with other organizations from Bangladesh, China, Ghana, India, Laos, Nepal, Peru and Tanzania for five awards and more than £200,000 of prize money earmarked to help project expansion and replication in other communities both locally and nationwide. The finalists will be in London next month for the last stage of the judging process.
“All the finalists were selected because they stand out as inspiring examples of how providing local sustainable energy solutions to reduce global carbon emissions can also reap tremendous social and economic rewards for local communities around the world,” said Sarah Butler-SLoss, founder and chairperson of the Ashden Awards. “They deserve to be highlighted and used to inspire others.”
Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, who will present the prizes at the Ashden Awards ceremony to be held at the Royal Geographical Society in London, on June 21 said, “The Ashden Awards are a powerful reminder that well-designed and managed local sustainable energy initiatives can tackle climate change while meeting the needs of local communities. Tackling these issues simultaneously – in both rich and poor countries – is critical to addressing the twin planetary challenges of climate change and sustainable development.”
The Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy reward “outstanding and innovative projects” in the United Kingdom and developing countries which tackle climate change and improve quality of life by providing renewable energy and energy efficiency at a local level.”
The 2007 international finalists are:
BANGLADESH: Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha for building up a fleet of 88 boats that use solar energy to bring education, training and renewable energy supplies to over 400,000 people living in the remote Chalanbeel region of Bangladesh
CHINA: Beijing Shenzhou Daxu Bio-energy Technology Company Ltd for developing and marketing an innovative stove design that replaces coal by burning widely available crop waste as well as burning wood much more efficiently.
GHANA: Deng Ltd. for developing a viable and sustainable business for the provision of solar-home-systems to rural areas where access to grid supply is limited.
INDIA: BIOTECH for developing and installing biogas plants in Kerala that use food waste which is often left out in the streets to rot, to generate gas for cooking.
INDIA: SKG Sangha for improving the lives of rural communities in Karnataka, South India by supplying them with both dung based biogas plants for cooking and a specially designed unit that turns the slurry from the biogas plant into high quality fertilizer.
LAO PDR: Sunlabob Renewable Energies Ltd for developing an innovative and commercially viable business model which provides high quality solar PV systems to the rural poor at a price they can afford.
NEPAL: Centre for Rural Technology Nepal for upgrading over 2,400 traditional water mills in the Himalayas of Nepal and improving the livelihood for millers and mill users and stemming the rise in diesel mills.
PERU: Practical Action for transforming the lives of over 30,000 people living in remote villages in the Andes by providing them with electricity generated by micro-hydro plants.
TANZANIA: Zara Solar Ltd. for providing high quality, reliable systems at affordable prices to communities lacking access to a reliable source of energy.(Bulatlat.com)